Cruise Ship Accident Liability

When an accident occurs on a cruise ship, you may be left wondering what to do. A cruise ship accident can be a devastating turn of events on what was supposed to be a memorable vacation.

If you’re hurt in a cruise ship accident, you may have the right to financial recovery. However, you may need to work carefully with a Miami personal injury lawyer to build your claim for compensation. Here’s what you should know about cruise ship accident liability.

Miami Cruise Ship

Can I Sue If I’m Hurt in a Cruise Ship Accident?

Yes, you can sue if you’re hurt in a cruise ship accident because of the negligent, reckless or intentional conduct of another party. If a cruise line employee or representative is responsible for the events that lead to the accident, you may bring a claim against the cruise line. Even if another patron is responsible for the accident, the cruise line may still have legal liability for the accident if there’s a chain reaction that leads to your injuries.

Related: Negligent vs. Reckless Acts in Personal Injury Cases

What Are the Standards for Legal Liability in Florida for a Cruise Ship Accident?

In Florida, the standards for legal liability for cruise ship accidents are the tort liability standards that apply to all injury cases. To receive financial recovery for a cruise ship accident, you must show how the cruise line is at fault for the accident. That doesn’t mean you have to prove that the cruise line caused the accident on purpose. It just means that the cruise line should have done something differently to prevent the accident.

While some cruise ship accidents truly are accidents, other accidents may have an underlying cause. For example, if a cruise ship employee leaves luggage around a corner, someone might quickly turn the corner, fail to see the bags and trip. In that case, the cruise line is likely liable for your injuries because the employee should have been careful enough not to leave the luggage where someone could trip on it. Determining liability for a cruise ship accident requires digging deeper to uncover the exact cause of the accident.

Here are just some of the types of accidents that may make the cruise ship company liable for your damages:

  • Failing to steer the ship around bad weather or dangerous waters
  • Sailing too fast based on the conditions at the time
  • Overcrowding the ship
  • Poorly designing the ship in a way that causes injury
  • Using furniture that is unfit for a cruise ship
  • Failing to clean a spill that creates a slip and fall
  • Leaving objects where patrons can trip
  • Food poisoning
  • Allowing passengers to participate in unsafe activities on board the ship
  • Negligently allowing passengers to engage in unsafe excursions with unfit companies
  • Failing to respond appropriately to misconduct by other patrons
  • Hiring too few staff or unqualified staff; failing to discharge poor performing staff
  • Not giving passengers sufficient instructions for an emergency

Any way that the cruise company acts negligently that results in an injury to you may be grounds for legal liability. The cruise company isn’t necessarily liable any time a passenger gets hurt. It’s when an injury occurs because of carelessness on the part of the cruise line or their employees that they have legal liability for the damages that result.

Cruise Ship Accident Liability Jurisdiction

One of the challenges in cruise ship accident cases is determining where to file the claim. You might be surprised to learn that many cruise ships aren’t registered as American ships. A cruise ship company chooses where to register their ships. In fact, a surprising number of ships sail under the flag of Liberia. To register in the United States, a vessel must have a certain amount of U.S. citizens on board. They must also meet standards for minimum wage and labor conditions. To avoid these regulations, many cruise ships register in other countries.

In addition to confusion about ship registration, your injury may occur while you’re on the open seas. It may happen during an excursion that involves a third-party company operating in the host country. In other words, a cruise involves a lot of different places. That can make knowing where to bring your claim for recovery confusing.

Fortunately, in many cases, you can bring your cruise accident injury case in the State of Florida. There are a few reasons why Florida may be the most appropriate jurisdiction to file your claim. First, most cruise ships that operate in the United States have offices in Florida. Doing business in the state may be enough to subject the cruise ship to jurisdiction in the state. Second, many cruise ships state in their contracts with customers that they agree to answer to lawsuits in the State of Florida. Rather than have to answer to lawsuits in every state where their customers live, the cruise lines often agree to answer cases in Florida because it’s more convenient for them.

Even if you’re hurt on the water or in another country, there’s a good chance that Florida is the most appropriate forum to bring your claim. Our attorneys have experience examining cruise ship injury claims to determine the correct and best jurisdiction to file the claim. We can review your case to help you decide where to bring your claim for recovery.

How Can a Cruise Ship Accident Attorney Help Me?

A cruise ship accident attorney can help you handle all aspects of your case when you’re hurt because of a cruise ship accident. They can help you file your case in the appropriate location, accurately state the legal grounds for your case, and build a strong claim. Your attorney can help ensure that you accurately value your current and future medical bills and other economic damages. They can also ensure that you receive fair compensation for pain and suffering.

Contact Our Miami Cruise Ship Accident Attorneys

Have you been hurt in a cruise ship accident? Our Miami cruise ship accident attorneys can help. The attorneys at Bernstein & Maryanoff have decades of experience helping accident victims including cruise ship accident victims. It’s our goal to handle your claim on your behalf so that you can focus on your recovery. Your time to file a claim is limited, so don’t wait any longer. Let’s begin today to get relief for you after your cruise ship accident. Call us today.

About the Author

attorney Jack Bernstein standing in front of a blurred background

Jack G. Bernstein, ESQ.

Jack Bernstein is a hard working and highly motivated personal injury attorney in Miami, Florida with over three decades of experience. He is a strategist and idea person, with a genuine passion for helping his firm’s clients. If you've been injured, contact Jack Bernstein today for a free evaluation of your case.

The information contained herein is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.